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Bird Flu Detected In Remote Nigerian State

Health officials announced that the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu has been detected in remote Taraba state in eastern Nigeria, which is the first African// country to be hit by bird flu.

Although no human cases have been reported, experts fear that several cases have gone unnoticed. Currently 14 of Nigeria's 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory have bird flu in poultry. "We have identified it in three places in Taraba, one commercial farm and two places where there are backyard poultry," said Lami Lombin, director of the National Veterinary Research Institute which tests for bird flu.

"There are a few places in Plateau and Kaduna where we are still getting new outbreaks. Elsewhere all the samples we're getting are negative," he added.

Plateau and Kaduna were the first states in Nigeria to report bird flu. Despite taking measures like culling and isolation, the disease spread rapidly in the first few weeks, but now has slowed down.

The H5N1 virus can infect people who come into close contact with sick birds and has so far claimed 130 lives since reemerging in 2003.

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